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Oral history interview with Robert Eppley and William Norman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1989.346.14 | RG Number: RG-50.031.0014

Robert Eppley, born on January 26, 1921 in Youngstown, Ohio, describe being inducted into the US Army in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 21, 1942, with the rank of private; serving in the 95th Infantry while he was in the US; serving in the 89th Infantry Division when he was overseas during World War II; landing in Southampton, England in early January 1945; being assigned to Patton's Third Army, following the Battle of the Bulge; coming under fire on the Rhineland campaign in March and later the Central European Campaign in April; how his division was ordered by their commanding general to visit the Ohrdruf concentration camp on the same day the camp was liberated by American forces; remaining at the camp for only two hours; the conditions of the camp survivors and victims; the mayor of Ohrdruf denying knowledge of the camp; how what he saw there made a permanent impression on his life; how there was not much discussion about the camps with his fellow GIs; his division accepting the surrender of thousands of German prisoners; seeing displaced people along the road; his division running the "cigarette camps," which funneled all unneeded US troops back to the US in order the ship them to Japan to finish the war; returning to the US in October 1945; having difficulty getting a job after he was discharged; getting a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as a common laborer; becoming the city manager of his hometown; his wife, whom he married five months after entering the army; discussing some of his experiences with his children; and the importance of memorialize the Holocaust.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
William Norman
Robert Eppley
Date
interview:  1984 March 12
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:31:42
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507446